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North, Central Americas soccer reforms follow FIFA scandal
July 6, 2015 / 4:07 PM / 2 years ago

North, Central Americas soccer reforms follow FIFA scandal

MIAMI (Reuters) - CONCACAF, the regional body controlling soccer in North and Central America, announced measures on Monday meant to curb corruption and improve transparency following its involvement in a scandal that has engulfed soccer's governing body, FIFA.

CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb, his aide Costas Takkas and executive committee member Eduardo Li were among seven people arrested in Zurich on May 27 in an investigation into a global bribery scandal at FIFA.

They remain in custody in Switzerland, where they face extradition to the United States.

Former CONCACAF president Jack Warner, based in Trinidad and Tobago, is among five others indicted in the same investigation. Former general secretary Chuck Blazer secretly pleaded guilty in 2013 to various bribery and financial offences and is cooperating with authorities.

CONCACAF, whose remits also covers the Caribbean, said the reforms, which were drawn up by a three-man committee, would be implemented immediately. They include term limits on all members of the executive committee, including the president, and publication of their salaries.

CONCACAF would also introduce a requirement that independent members with no connection with football also sit on the executive committee.

In addition, outside consultants will be hired to audit commercial partners and review internal controls, and a whistleblowers' hotline will be set up.

“This reform framework reflects CONCACAF’s commitment to strengthening our governance, management and operations," said CONCACAF in a statement.

"These reforms are intended to apply best practices for sound corporate governance to CONCACAF’s business operations."

"The Confederation will demonstrate to its fans, sponsors, member associations and other stakeholders that CONCACAF is resilient and devoted to managing, developing and promoting the game with accountability and transparency.”

Webb, from the Cayman Islands, and Li, president of the Costa Rican Football Federation, have both been provisionally dismissed by CONCACAF and suspended by FIFA's ethics committee.

Swiss authorities confirmed on Thursday that the United States had asked for their extradition along with the other five detainees, a legal process expected to last several months.

Meanwhile, CONCACAF general-secretary Enrique Sanz has been placed on leave and suspended by FIFA's ethics committee pending investigations.

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Mark Heinrich

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